My friend David Welsh, who is a management consultant in the U.K., has been pushing me to offer this class since 2018. "Just offer it once," he said, "everybody needs this."
He first told me this at the end of one of our very long conversations on Facetime. My initial response was almost immediate — an enthusiastic "yes!"
David checked in with me a few weeks later to know if I'd already offered the class. Reluctantly, I explained my resistance:
"David, people are so jaded with stuff about emotions nowadays. Every coach on the planet talks about emotional management. How the hell do you want me to add noise to that conversation?!"
[Several months later.]
David sends me an iMessage:
"I took the liberty to share just one piece of what you taught me with one of the directors at Deloitte..."
That rascal sure loves him an open loop. So I asked: "...and?"
"He told me he's now using it to monitor, forecast and enhance his team's performance on critical assignments."
I'll admit, that made me feel pretty good about this.
[Several months later.]
"Martin, I just shared your horse and barn metaphor with my son who was starting to become excessively anxious..."
Of course, he left me hanging... (I figure he was trying to transfer the anxiety over to me.)
"... surprising result... It's been 4 days and he hasn't said anything about it to me yet... But I can tell that his fidgeting has almost completely stopped."
I'll tell you, that story made me feel really good about this.
[Several months later.]
"Remember my friend I told you about who I shared your ideas with? I ran into him at Chettinad yesterday. He pulled me aside and told me he doubled his number of prospecting calls..."
On and on it went, story after story, case after case. And now, here I am — 100% on board. I can finally say "HELL YEAH!" to his request.
Especially during the moments we are living through right now.
Here is my Emotion Management Manifesto.
Emotion Management Manifesto
What you’re about to read was twenty months (and nineteen years) in the making. It started as an informal chat between buddies, and evolved day by day, week by week, into a personal and professional mission.
I have shared these ideas with friends and clients, refined them with sharp colleagues in exclusive discussion groups, and I have leveraged these ideas with my family and clients resulting in much welcome relief and unanticipated surges in performance.
Others have put them to work as well, and their feedback has been consistent and overwhelming. To put it simply, these ideas work.
Now I’d like to share them with you.
Before I do that, allow me to give you some context so you understand my perspective. As Ani diFranco once said, "Taken out of context I must seem so strange."
I have spoken with over 30,000 educators over the last two decades, taken an artist from obscurity to winning two prestigious awards, mentored several kids — one of whom became a national muay-thai champion in Brazil and the other a major digital influencer — started and sold a chain of bakeries with annual revenues of more than $1,000,000, managed over 20 employees and am successfully raising two brilliant and socially-adjusted teenagers.
This is to say that I've field-tested these insights in the real world — they work.
I have spent thousands upon thousands of hours thinking deeply about my craft (working with people) and crafting mental models and frameworks and understanding (and results), and I have had countless conversations with incredibly capable coaches, psychologists, educators, businessmen and academics.
A snapshot of one of my whiteboard sessions in 2009
More importantly, I'm just like you. I'm a forward-thinking professional and family man who has accepted 100% responsibility for his experience in this world. I've faced the same professional struggles you have, and I'm certain we have shared similar life struggles.
Experience in business and life has led me to the conclusion that there are a small number of simple truths in any area of life that really matter. Aligning with those truths makes the difference between celebration and frustration, between effectiveness and failure.
As my friend Dane Maxwell likes to say:
"Success is not about being right.
It's about surrendering to what works."
Here are seven simple truths about emotions I've found particularly powerful.
Simple Truth #1 — The ability to manage your emotions is the most important skill to master
At its core, the quality of your life comes down to the emotions you feel on a consistent basis — both in terms of the feelings you experience and the decisions you make.
No matter how much you're able to accomplish and achieve, if you don't feel fulfilled emotionally there's no way you'll have a great quality of life. Likewise, if you're not capable of embodying powerful emotions on command, you will never be able to make life-transforming decisions.
Vitality, quality friendships, wealth and intimate relationships emerge from the positive combination of passive and active emotions.
Simple Truth #2 — There's no such thing as 'good' and 'bad' emotions
We have access to a huge spectrum of emotions. Broadly speaking, there are empowering emotions and disempowering emotions.
I don't like the terms 'good emotions' and 'bad emotions' because they imply that some emotions are inherently better than others — based on whether they feel pleasurable or painful. That's a fallacy and it can lead us astray rapidly if we don't correct this misperception.
Instead of looking at emotions as good or bad based on their place on the pleasure spectrum, I prefer to consider them based on their usefulness at the time of experience.
Let me give you a simple example so you understand what I mean.
An emotional villain often mentioned and poo-pooed is anger. Many books have been written and many a therapy session held to put this little "monster" under control or lock. Also, certain belief systems have led many to believe that anger is a "lower-vibration" emotion that we all should transcend.
Indeed, we can misuse anger. Let's say that you're expecting your love interest to call after a particularly intense date. However, the call is taking longer than you expected. If you treat your date with anger when (s)he calls, you may set a precedent for them to feel reluctant to call you in the future. People have a tendency to repeat acts that feel pleasurable and to avoid those that feel painful.
In this case, using anger might be counterproductive.
On the other hand, I've tapped into people's anger several times to snap them out of depression. It's a fantastic starting point and conduit to other states.
If you understand how to use them, how many of the emotions are 'good'?
All of them.
Simple Truth #3 — Managed emotions give us what we desire most — certainty
Let's be very clear about what we all really want.
As professionals, husbands/wives, or parents, we need to wake up fresh and available in the morning, work with other people during the day, make progress on our objectives and support our loved ones.
That's what we need.
But, what we really want — more than anything — is a sense of certainty. We want to have the confidence that we can get the results we truly desire. That our intimate relationship will continue to flourish. That we will achieve more financial stability and abundance. That our children will become ever more autonomous and responsible. That we can become more physically, fit, vital, aligned and strong. That we can make our career progress.
Just for a moment, I want you to imagine what it would feel like to experience that. What if you knew — really knew — that you could allow that to happen month after month, year after year?
Later I'm going to explain what it takes to get there.
Simple Truth #4 — The impact of the external world on us has changed
The old models for emotional management — still widely used today — were based on adjusting environmental triggers to reduce your emotional response to them. If you realized that a particular place, person or object triggered a negative emotional response on your part, you could simply mitigate the problem by turning your interaction with the trigger on or off.
The old model was based on proactively mitigating your external circumstances. The answer to every emotional trigger was always "remove."
The new reality is that we are under constant assault from the external world — coming from every direction. Boundaries between the external world and our minds are constantly being tested. Don't believe me? Just check the stats on the first thing that people do when they get up in the morning and before they go to sleep at night.
They check their phone. This means at least 12 stimuli within seconds.
People used to have a TV in their bedroom. Still, a TV offered a limited set of stimuli. Our phones, on the other hand, offer an almost unlimited set.
Psychology Today reports that the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. And it's only going to get worse.
The new model is based on shifting the impact of the trigger on your emotional state. Now, the answer to every emotional trigger has to be "rewire."
The old model's days are already gone. The future belongs to those who understand the implications of this new reality and change their approach accordingly.
Simple Truth #5 — Emotions = Resourcefulness = Self-Confidence
Every single day, tens of people join dailyNLP. When I ask them about the #1 challenge they are trying to overcome, 20% of them report something along the lines of self-confidence.
Let me share with you a little secret about self-confidence...
In a nutshell, self-confidence is the inner knowing that you can tap into your resourcefulness at will. In other words, that you're capable of figuring out what to do next to get what you want or get yourself out of a bind.
Tony Robbins is arguably one of the world's most effective coaches. Many high performance athletes, investors and business people swear by his approach. Decade after decade, Paul Tudor Jones — billionaire investor — has paid him to the tune of $1 million a year for his coaching services, and has consistently attributed his success to Tony's coaching.
Here's a two-minute clip from Tony's TED talk in which he points out the defining factor of achievement. I certainly recommend you watch the whole talk if you haven't yet.
The defining factor is never resources, it's resourcefulness. What I mean specifically — rather than just some phrase — is having emotion.
He singles out emotion as the key to resourcefulness — which, as we covered above, is the key to self-confidence.
A recent, profound example:
My client Jennifer C. was terrified of selling on the phone. This was, objectively, crippling her efforts at significantly increasing her income. Overall, Jennifer was a positive and upbeat person, but anytime she looked at the phone she shut down. By making small shifts that impacted her emotional state, she was able to start making those calls and closing sales over the phone.
That's the power of directing emotions.
We can think of emotional management as a soft skill that only affects our feelings and our experience of the world. However, we can truly empower ourselves by realizing that we can leverage this soft skill to drive hard results. If I do nothing else, let me help you learn to manage your emotions and tap into your resourcefulness.
Simple Truth #6 — Tiny decisions have HUGE long-term impact
Back in 2009, I had an opportunity to meet legendary Brazilian composer Paulo Cesar Pinheiro, who has more recorded songs than any other songwriter in history.
I asked him how he had become such a prolific songwriter. He explained to me that, every day, he made the decision to approach his songwriting just as a construction worker approaches his work. He clocks in every single day and remains at his office, working on his craft.
"Think about that," he shared. "That simple daily decision meant that I was available EVERY SINGLE TIME inspiration struck. I could have been doing something else, but I was at my desk."
The implication of his explanation is staggering. Life is a long game and a clear understanding of the impact of decisions tells us we should be making tiny shifts that get magnified in the long run. When carried out over days, weeks, months, years and decades, these seemingly tiny decisions take us to a completely different destination. These shifts begin with our emotional state at the time of decision-making. The more effective we are at managing our emotions, the higher will be the quality of our decisions.
Simple Truth #7 — There's only one thing to do to tap into your emotions
When we accept that our emotions are systemic holons, we realize that they're subject to the insights of holon theory. Perhaps the most profound insight is this one, from Ken Wilber's Twenty Tenets: the lower holons sets the possibilities of the higher; the higher set the probabilities of the lower.
In other words, the driving sub-elements of emotions will determine WHICH emotions we experience. This means that we need to focus on shifting the drivers of emotion — not the emotion as a whole. Shift the drivers, and the emotion will follow.
In layman's terms, that means there's always at least one — and up to three — leverage point to instantly shift our emotions. We just need to know where and how to look, and then act accordingly.
When we internalize these simple truths and then begin to act on them, we tap into a great source of power — leverage. Our result becomes freedom and flexibility, instead of being held hostage by our emotions.
That leads to the obvious question — how do we do that? I'm glad you asked...
I've developed a practical emotional management training program I'm calling The Emotion Engine.
In it, we begin with core concepts, timeless foundational principles, and a complete X-Ray of the key elements that drive emotional states.
Then we dig into these concepts and principles to learn practical tools and strategies to map, access and transform emotions.
My goal for this program is simple — to get you to what I call Bulletproof Self-Confidence.
You've seen it before in like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Anita Roddick, Michael Jordan and Richard Branson. It's the point where external events no longer shake your emotional core.
But don't take my word for it. Witness it in action.
The Emotion Simulator
Before playing with the simulator (you'll find it below), watch this video:
I hope you understand the implications of this. Let me share a concrete example with you so you can picture what happens.
Let's say Annie loses her job (external event)...
Immediately, she takes an emotional hit. She feels sad, hurt and frustrated (emotion). As she dwells in those emotions, she becomes paralyzed. She doesn't research other professional opportunities (action). This means that nothing changes (result). As time passes, her savings dwindle (environment, circumstances), leaving her feeling more and more desperate (emotion). The more desperate she feels, the less clearly she thinks and the less potential she employs (action). Of course, she continues to get the same result — staying unemployed (result). The process continues on and on until she hits bottom.
Can you see how this dynamic plays out in several areas of your life?
Are you ready to take external hits?
What if you upped your ante in life, raised your standards and started going after more ambitious goals? Would you be ready emotionally to take those hits?
That's what becoming emotionally bulletproof is all about.
And now, try it for yourself with the live simulator (much better experience on a desktop computer, I must say).
— Martin Messier
The Traffic Engine core training is a seven-module course that teaches the fundamentals of effective emotion management, leveraging the principles of Neurolinguistic Programming.
The emphasis of the course is learning the key drivers of emotion, and then practical, strategic interventions to move those drivers in order to shift state.
The goal for the course is for you to have mastered at least one practical strategy to manage your state at will from at least two different drivers. You will, of course, be able to use these strategies to help others as well.
Other, related pieces of the training include:
- An in-depth look at the Chain of Action model.
- How specific cultural norms subtly affect emotions in a big way.
- The single, most important emotional driver and a deceptively simple strategy to take control of it.
- The two most important obstacles to overcome when managing your emotional state.
- Exercises to help you practice and develop your ability to recognize and leverage emotional drivers
- Approaches I use to direct people's state in non-coaching contexts
- (And a lot more I’m sure I’m forgetting…)
Participants will have access to all future program updates as I make them available.
Each lesson and module will have comments open so you can ask questions. I answer them regularly.
The course content is a mix of written material, screencasts (especially to display simulations), video and links to third-party resources I believe are valuable.
- Bonus: Module 0 — The 10,000-Meter View of The Emotion Engine
- Core Module 1: Understanding Current Reality
- Core Module 2: Emotion Management Principles
- Core Module 3: The Most Important Emotional Driver to Master
- Core Module 4: Inner Workings Of Consciousness And How They Affect Emotion
- Core Module 5: Taming the Linguistic Beast
- Core Module 6: Advanced Mental Plumbing
- Bonus Module: Action-Based Belief Change Framework
Bonus! Mentoring Session
Consolidate your learning and wipe out any doubts
As soon as you enroll, you will schedule your private, one-on-one, 1-hour mentoring session.
It will be a unique opportunity to FULLY tailor what you have learned in the program to your unique situation. Bring your questions and curiosity. You will be quite surprised at what can happen in one hour...
A mentoring session with me normally costs $300. You receive it for free as part of your enrollment in The Emotion Engine.
If you have a pre-enrollment question, you can use the comments below or email me at martin (at) dailyNLP (dot) com.
All sales are final. No refunds. If you have any doubts about whether this is for you or not, don't buy it.